Tuesday 31 January 2017

A Good Window For Roly's Bank Manager

Roly wasn't expected to spend much and he certainly didn't did he eh ? One can't be surprised when there's no plan and no ambition than having a nice get together on a Saturday and a quick two-step with the oppo's fans.

The transfer window has now slammed shut. No more ins although I guess there  could always be outs ! 

Certainly a couple of likely departures haven't departed.

This is crunch time. If you can’t achieve your aims with what you’ve got then sorry, it ain’t gonna change before the summer.

Ajose has returned to Swindon who have also recruited Rohan Ince a very shrewd acquisition. Why we were not into that ?

Robinson has rolled the dice, played the cards that he’s been dealt and the fullness of time will tell us all how successful he’s been.

He ought to have enough experience to know not to make promises he may not be able to keep. The marquee signing never happened and in all honesty most of us never felt it would. He's been somewhat naive there and remember Wilder didn't join up because he didn't have sufficient control of transfers.

I'm not sure how much to believe of Robinson's claims about other clubs bumping up prices because it's us. Is that genuine or is it faux anger or a smokescreen because The President didn't stump up the cash ? 

The manager is never shy in talking up the club and its players and to a degree, there’s little wrong with that. However, now it’s time to see if they and him can live up to the rhetoric

Recent results have shown there has been some improvement in results since the manager’s arrival. Certainly the football has been more attacking and the evidence is that the players want to play for him if last Saturday alone is anything to go by.

I still have reservations about Robinson as he overhypes everything and is seemingly too pally with players. However, I can’t deny what I’ve cited above and we’ll see how it goes. I can be won over a little by improved results and performances.

February is a real crunch time with March shaping up to be the same as the result of postponed games. It will really test the manager’s mettle and he may need more than just his favoured formation at various stages. One hopes he’s flexible enough in his approach to meet the upcoming demands.

Should we have realistic hopes of making the play-offs ? Well, looking at our squad (  when most are available ) and what I’ve seen of the other hopefuls then, yes indeed, we ought to. Only Sheffield United have really impressed me to date.

A lot depends on how Robinson can deploy his players and keep them as motivated as they were on Saturday. In addition, we need to see if he has an alternate way of playing when needs must.

We live in interesting times !

Sunday 29 January 2017

Macron Marvels !

A tremendous rearguard action saw the Addicks fight their way to all 3 points on Saturday.

Another early departure for Page due to a red card and not injury saw our boys down to 10 men and subsequently a goal down swiftly after.

Page was covering after some poor defending led to a clear goal scoring opportunity for the Trotters. I guess instinct led him to commit the foul but it was a tad early to make the ultimate sacrifice.

However, a combination of spirited defending, tireless running and the essential ingredient of Lady Luck led to a fightback and a win.

Everyone emerges with credit and this was a true team effort.

February promises to be a real test that will define our season. There are 3 Tuesday games with a corresponding number of Saturday ones. It would have been more but Oxford's progression to the last 16 of the FA Cup means a free weekend on Saturday 18th February.

Tex has completed his one match ban and bodies are now starting to return.

However, the make up of the squad will probably change yet still before all that and by the time the transfer window closes.

The absence on Saturday of Johnson and Ulvestad and any explanation raises questions as to their future. In addition, Ajose has already been linked with a move away.

There are rumours of another loan player coming in and to do so a current loanee will need to make way if we're not to be overloaded in a repetition of days of yore when we had more loanees than we could fit into a matchday squad.

In interesting couple of days and February beckons !

Thursday 26 January 2017

Our Friends In The North

Walking in a Wilson Wonderland

Hopefully not the frozen north as these two teams will be keen to play after neither Southend's nor our undersoil heating kicked in last week. However, the difference between us and the Essex boys is that they don't actually have it - we just didn't want to spend on getting a boiler in situ.

A stupid economic and business decision ? Of course but entirely in keeping with the way Katrien and co run our club. Would they have given a moment's thought to Scunny's greatly inconvenienced fans ? Not a chance as they don't value their own customers.

Our ongoing injury and suspension issues mean we ought not to be particularly confident ahead of Saturday's trip. Add to that Robinson's insistence on playing his favoured system at all cost then it's not worth leaving the metropolis.

However, the fact that the Trotters have yet to win this year does give rise to a smidgen of optimism. Yet to get anything from the game we will need to be at our best and need to battle hard.

It's unclear as to whether Bauer will be fit to play any part. If he isn't then we have to trust to lady luck that whoever plays in central defence doesn't get injured or we're more trouble than the mob from Sainsbury's.

Whoever is selected to play the lone role up front is on a hiding to nothing as they won't be suited to it. That won't change anything after all in our last game we saw the ball booted up to the diminutive Da Silva. There you go son see what you can do with that.

I assume Chicksen won't start at left back as it seems no amount of injuries and suspensions would facilitate that.

I assume our marquee signing won't be available until the following fixture. Disappointing but I can wait another week.

Good luck to all travelling up on Saturday. As ever I hope that you are rewarded with a win first and a decent performance second. 

Remember to give Lawrie a cheer !

Come On You Reds !

Thursday 19 January 2017

4-4-2 Anyone ?

Charlton could still lose even with no oppo !

Injury and suspension problems aplenty for the Addicks ahead of Saturday's game against Scunny. At least the management has had a full week to prepare in the knowledge of the absentees as it was pretty clear at 5pm last Saturday how things were shaping up.

I know Robinson loves his 4-2-3-1 formation. I know he loves it so much that he deployed it before acquiring the players that said formation would suit.

In fact, such a fan is Robinson that he didn't think he ought to change things against Millwall and persisted with Tony Watt in the lone striker's role following injury to Big Josh. The result was that we carried little goal threat which is hardly surprising as he doesn't suit the position aside from the fact that I'm about as fit as the Scot !

It seems barely credible if Robinson hadn't considered that his main man might at some stage pick up an injury especially given our luck in that area in recent seasons. However, his lack of an alternative system would suggest otherwise.

It would, of course, be difficult for any manager to cope without four centre halves let alone our shy and retiring manager. We are down to the bare bones there and an injury to one of the two starters on Saturday would spell further trouble.

The back four ought to be Solly, Konsa, Johnson and Chicksen. I say ought to be as there appears to be no alternative to any of them but to date both Slade and Robinson have done their damnedest to ensure that young Adam doesn't start in his favoured left back berth.

Amazing, since he's been one the better performers. He's been so good in fact that I'd have tied him down to a longer term deal by now. I believe his current one expires at the end of this season and it would be foolhardy not to keep him.

Robinson's midfield options are in better shape. Crofts had probably his best game in a Charlton shirt last Saturday and must start as should Aribo. That leaves a trio of Foster-Caskey, Holmes and Ulvestad pushing for a start too.

The striking choices are marginally better than the defensive ones but not by much ! Novak will probably play up front from the off as there's not really anyone else save for perhaps Hanlan to play in the lone role but he is very inexperienced. 

Ahearne-Grant and Watt may be battling for a place on the bench with Tony likely to get the nod. Maybe Ajose will find himself there too.

Playing The Iron was always going to be tough and the missing personnel makes it so much harder. To me it seems silly to exaggerate those difficulties by employing a system that is unlikely to bring any success. It would serve Robinson better to go with 4-4-2 but I'd surprised if he employs it.

Given Scunny's lofty position and our depleted squad any kind of result would be good. Let's hope we can get it.

Come On You Reds !

Monday 16 January 2017

CAFC 0 v 12 Man Millwall 0

Reffing Useless

The signs weren't good. Prior to kick off and Stroud and his assistants engaged in some bizarre warm up sprints that took place in the centre circle of attention. It looked as ridiculous at the officials performances that followed. 

Stroud's intention not to be ignored was made even more clear by the retake of the kick off. It was a pointless  and unnecessary piece of officiating - the first of many. The fool even manged to get in the way on at least two occasions and did a better job of breaking up the Addicks attacks than the lumps in Millwall's back line.

Sadly, he didn't concern himself in dealing with many of Millwall's cynical fouls. Stroud also saw fit not to red card Gregory for an awful foul on Rudd but later thought throwing the ball was worthy of a second yellow for Tex. Strictly speaking in that respect he was right but it overlooks a great deal of provocation.

My thoughts on Morison are worse than our hapless referee. An irritating c... er chap to say the least. He got away with murder. The journeyman footballer who is clearly not good enough to play above League One level is short on ability and long on obnoxiousness.

The draw was probably about the right result given The Loins missed several clear cut chances but the disallowed goal that capped Stroud's dismal display meant that we went unrewarded again. 

Neither he nor the lino could have seen anything and if they'd waited a few seconds the lack of protest from Millwall's players would have told them that there was nothing wrong with it.

All that aside one has to look at overall performance. Again possession was good and we won that stat but not the most important one of course.

The ball was played out from the back more than we've seen in most games this season and certainly anything we saw under Slade who was all long ball to Big Josh. The ball was passed around a lot although frequently still not quickly enough and often to little effect.

The early loss of Josh and Page did little to help matters but I'm not sure Robinson picked the best starting eleven anyway. To give a debut to a player who'd not played for a while in a game like this wasn't perhaps the best decision. We also lacked height against a big physical team.

I think I'd have brought Holmes on ahead of Da Silva who apparently was thought to be a good target for some of Rudd's goalkicks !

Watt was blowing out of his backside almost immediately and in any case is clearly not suited to playing as the one up front in a 4-2-3-1 formation, However, Robinson never saw fit to change things at all. Admittedly his options were limited but he made things hard for himself by not having a fully fit striker, Hanlan for example, on the bench.

My concern over Robinson's inability to have an alternative to his preferred style remains. He needs to be able to change things sometimes but doesn't seem willing or able to. That will be further tested next week not only against better opposition but as a result of suspension and injury.

It seems almost certain that Konsa will need to drop back into defence and one assumes that Ulvestad or Forster-Caskey will come into midfield. 

It would be a major surprise if Watt were to start the game so that leaves Hanlan or a fit again Novak to do so one assumes

All areas of the football club will be busy this week as it prepares to take on the team second from top. 

Thursday 12 January 2017

This Time More Than Any Other Time........

Ah ! England's 1982 World Cup  anthem isn't fondly remembered for many reasons not least because the team were ultimately awful after a good start. However, it gave rise to false hope but that won't be the case this weekend will it ?

Here we go again then. Having played our lovely neighbours just over 3 weeks ago we lock horns again.

Naturally no Addick is overly optimistic but one never knows and all runs come to an end eventually as we can readily recall with Hudderfield's much lauded unbeaten run even if it really didn't amount to a heap of beans for them.

One could argue that we have a better looking and possibly more balanced team as we approach this one. In addition, the team has had nearly two weeks to prepare for it.

Overall we just want to see some fight, passion and pride from our boys and to not roll over and have our belly tickled. We need something to get behind and get us going as fans.

I'm surprised but pleased to see that Robinson hasn't gone overboard with his pre-match comments to date whilst acknowledging that in this instance at least talk is cheap.

In contrast, Neil Harris has been really hyping the game and I'm not sure that's the smartest move. In fact I'm surprised he's felt moved to do so as he is seemingly putting his players under unnecessary pressure given their record against us.

We've heard a lot about Tony Watt wanting to be at the club and to play for us. The proof of the pudding as they say but is the script being written for him to come off the bench and do something that eluded George Tucadean and most of our strikers since Kim Grant all those years ago ?

We could also welcome back Holmes and Rudd and that would be a big boost for the rest of the season not just this game.

This match provides a real test for Robinson's new look team as he apparently has the type of player he wants that fits his system. Sadly most of the new recruits are loans and I'd prefer to see permanent signings but maybe they'll sign up fully in due course.

The win is probably more important than the performance in this instance but a loss allied to a poor performance won't do Robinson any favours so he has to hope he gets at least a good performance if he doesn't get the win.

Come On You Reds !

Wednesday 11 January 2017

Brave New World

Come Saturday and Robinson and his team will have had nearly two weeks to prepare for the Millwall game and with his new look team including the players he wanted now in situ, this is the first real acid test for him.

In addition, with Tony Watt back in the fold albeit physically if not mentally then we ought to be a damn sight stronger than when we last met our nearest and dearest ( even without Lookman ).

As ever Robinson has let his tongue run away with itself. Apparently we have several players who would walk into any side in League One. In addition, Tony Watt has said he really wants to be in S.E. 7 to play for the team. Sorry but he would say that would say that wouldn’t he !

His public outburst about Watt and making him run and sweat and cry was unnecessary. That also included a demand for an apology. I’m not sure that Robinson was in a position to do that as he wasn’t here when Watt was last at the club and however true anything is that he’s heard, it’s hearsay.

Surely, it would have been better to approach it with a fresh start, a clean plate approach. Alex Ferguson never aired the dirty linen in public and Robinson would do well to follow suit.

As with how good the players, the squad etc. are then the proof will be in the effort and the results. The same is true with Watt. We’ll know how committed etc. he is after he’s played a couple of times.

No doubt Robinson will talk a lot about pride, passion, belief, playing for the shirt etc. etc. in the next few days. We know what to expect as it gets regurgitated on a regular basis. Many of us are fed up with hearing it and I’d imagine the players will be too if he’s like that in training day in, day out.

Everything is so over the top with the man. Seemingly he wants to be every players best mate and I’m not sure that he knows there ought to be a line between manager and player. 

For all the years in football management Robinson still says and does the most crass things. Someone ought to tell him as I’m not sure anyone has or that he ever reflects on his comments and actions.

I want him to succeed and for me to find some endearing qualities but he makes it awfully difficult. Mind you a win over the locals would go some way towards it. 

Here’s hoping !

Friday 6 January 2017

Good Luck Ademola !

Best wishes young man - it was pleasure to see you play.

Lookman’s protracted move to Everton finally completed then and even if it doesn’t work out he can still make a fortune out of selling his miracle cure for the common cold !

I really hope it is successful for him and that he goes on to win international caps too. He can’t have chosen a better club to join, Everton are top notch in every respect with a fantastic ethos. In fact, people used to say the same about us.

Ronald Koeman, I understand, was interested in Ademola when at Southampton and was clearly determined to get his man.

Clearly this is good business in the normal run of events. However, it is done against a background of failure and mismanagement by the present owners that means the selling of one of our brightest stars is not an isolated incident.

The further down the leagues we go the less able we are to resist any decent offer nor the player himself to turn down the opportunity to play at a higher level.

It really is that simple and yet I see some folk defending Meire and co. It wouldn’t be so bad if a large amount of transfer fees was spent on strengthening the team. However, I think even the most deluded fan will acknowledge that that isn’t a remote possibility.

Roly will no doubt argue as to why he would want to spend large amounts of money on players that the next manager off the taxi rank might not like !

Forster-Caskey has come in and if one is to believe Robinson then at least two more are on their way. Hopefully they will join before next week’s game against Millwall who could soon find themselves homeless.

Perhaps we could ground share ! Then we could have socialising and dancing on a weekly basis in S.E. 7 !

All joking aside what’s potentially happening to Millwall isn’t good news for any club. As ever, it seems that the authorities both inside and outside football stand by watching from afar as another club is in crisis.

Never mind though as long as the Premiership conitues unimpeded, that’s all that matters eh ?

Monday’s win over Bristol Rovers has seen a few people get a bit ahead of themselves. Naturally post-match Robinson was spouting all kinds of nonsense. Not least his comments about Aribo – “ he’s the next Dele Alli ! “.

Clearly not one to engage his brain before speaking or reflect on what he’s said, Robinson has just heaped a load of pressure on a young player. At the same time he’s made him a marked man in future games as well as alerting other clubs to his potential.

Robinson was like a runaway train on Monday evening. There is a need for some perspective. It was an ok performance where we retained the ball better than in recent weeks, that’s clear for all to see.

In addition, it was good to witness the ball being played out to the full backs and central defenders more than in recent times. However, 3 of our goals came from set pieces against a porous defence. The one goal from open play followed a sumptuous through ball allied with a sublime finish.

Possession is good but it won’t win you games on its own of course. I can’t remember many chances that we created from open play. The Millwall game offers a better test of how effective the manager has been in achieving the style of play he wants.

Then from February onwards following the closure of the transfer window it’s the acid test. Robinson may do better than his final days at MK with an arguably better squad of players…….we’ll see.

In the meantime he ought to calm down and let events on the pitch do the talking. His comments are frequently repetitive and exaggerated. As was pointed out on Charlton Live last night they look even more so when written down.

Please concentrate on next week’s game and cut out the silly and overblown comments. It’s really not helping.

Tuesday 3 January 2017

Good Game ! Good Game !

Darren Deadman practices handing out another yellow card.

Word reaches me that prior to yesterday’s fine win there was an incident in the boardroom as Miss Meire had a misunderstanding with the Rovers chairman. He apparently said to her in his broad west country accent “ I believe that you’re a lawyer ! “. The problems of dialect eh ?

A good performance especially in the second half saw the Addicks overcome Rovers who are seemingly our whipping boys this season. 9 goals for with 2 in reply and those both gifted via a penalty and defensive slip.

A week on from an awful display against MK Dons and this was a much better effort. I didn’t think we were as bad in the first half as some people have said. Rovers goal came about from a defensive howler that was well finished but we retained the ball well for most of the time albeit without creating many chances.

The goal from Josh just before half time was vital in giving the lads some belief and they really pressed on in the second half. It was good to see us scoring from set pieces although there’s still room for improvement as on several occasions there was hesitancy as no one seemed to know who was taking them.

A bit of variation in the build up to Tex’s goal was also pleasing. Not that anyone needed reminding but the one thing we won’t miss from Lookman is his free kicks and corners !

I was surprised to see after the game that we had only 51% possession as I’d have guessed at it being a lot higher than that although it means bu**ar all really as it’s goals that matter.

We will need to create more chances from open play and hopefully Da Silva and any other new additions will supply that.

On that note it seems that the smart money is on Carruthers joining the Blades rather than us. It remains to be seen if Robinson’s other MK target Reeves joins us.

After the game it wasn’t just our boys that enjoyed a post-match beer as Rovers players were each treated to an Irish stout although their skipper Lockyer couldn’t find his and not for the first time in the afternoon was heard to say “ where’s me Guinness ? “

Robinson deserves some credit for this display although he’s got some way to go to win me over. I can’t agree with his view that only Chicksen was playing out of position. Konsa isn’t historically a midfielder and Bokata is a left sided player.

In addition, what is it that Robinson feels he needs to prove to us. The half time charge down the tunnel urging the lads to join him was odd as were the celebrations at full time.

I understand that he’s pleased with the win etc. but it’s all too OTT for me. Leave the players to acknowledge the crowd and vice versa and we don’t need someone to orchestrate the tunnel jumps.

Some will love all that and talk about passion and that’s fine, I just don’t need to witness scenes that are more in keeping with having achieved a lot more winning one game or even having secured 7 points from 9 which I acknowledge.

As I said I’m not a great fan of Robinson but am happy to acknowledge good things of course and to be won over. It’s just all this show and bravado doesn’t make it easy to do so.

Looking forward and having had a pleasing set of results ( if not performances ) we can look forward to the Millwall with a bit more confidence than the last encounter.

Robinson has nearly two weeks to work with the team and also get some new players in. If we can overcome our friends from up the road on Saturday week then I’ll allow him to celebrate however he likes.